How Scandinavia wanted to be represented....
Cory | Virginia | 06/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful music on this CD. A few tunes I'm sure you'll recognize too. Rustle of Spring is such a soft gentle song. Even better then if it was on a piano. The Alfven Sweedish Rhapsody is a wonderful, joyful piece. You'd have to be a pretty grumpy person not to enjoy it. And of course typical of Naxos, average orchestration, but also very cheap. I think most anyone will find at least one enjoyable song on this CD."
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 09/13/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This CD, recorded in the East Slovakian city of Ko?ice in 1988, documents a missed opportunity. It contains some of the most attractive 19th century music with brilliant pieces by Grieg, Sibelius, Alfvén and Svendsen (and an orchestrated piano piece by Sinding), music that would have merited a top-class performance and ditto recording. But unfortunately, we have here indifferent playing and a piece of engineering that belongs to the worst I have ever heard from Naxos: the microphones are too far away from the proceedings, and some of the numbers, especially Grieg's 'Norwegian Dances', sound a little like old mono discs - everything happens in the center, and now and then a solo instrument is superimposed on the rest. In toto, the impression the disc leaves behind is not good; the compositions and composers represented here deserved a better orchestra and better treatment all round.
Note added on 6 November 2005: When I first wrote this rather acidic review, I had not had an opportunity to compare any of the items on the disc with other performances, so my negative judgement was based merely on what I heard or thought I heard. As the music played here is quite rare, I have since then only managed to obtain one piece in another version, namely Grieg's Symphonic Dance No. 3, which Naxos have recently recorded in its full context of all four symphonic dances (Grieg's Opus 64) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Bjarte Engeset. The new version wins hands down, both with regard to the playing and also to the engineering, yielding a much more satisfying listening experience than the "Scandinavian Festival" disc ever could do. Therefore I stand by my one-star evaluation."